WAMM Blog

Sierra Ferrell: W. Va. Native Earns National Notice

Sierra Ferrell, writer, singer and player of many instruments talks about her debut album and what influences her unique sound.

Sierra Ferrell grew up in small town West Virginia, moving with her mom around the state as a child. Then she “got into a dark place in West Virginia and I needed to get out.” So, Ferrell left the state and hit the road as an adult in her early 20s. As a result, she found her way and her unique voice living out of a van while gigging across the country. Joining her was a troupe of roving musicians, playing truck stops to alleyways. They are even known to play in freight-train boxcars speeding down the railroad tracks.

The chops earned busking around the country taught Sierra the techniques and playing style featured in her new album. Drawing from that, she recorded her first album guided by her self-described “country heart but a jazz mind.” And this year’s release, Long Time Coming, highlights Ferrell’s multiple talents. On it, she displays prowess as a writer, singer and player of the band saw, toy piano and guitar.

Now, Ferrell is touring the country, fresh off a stop and impressive performance in Winchester at the Bright Box Theater. Before that show, Sierra Ferrell joined Double J on WAMM to discuss the new album. Highlights include her early experiences busking, touring during COVID times and working with talented musicians such as Billy Strings and Sarah Jarosz.

Sierra Ferrell discusses her unique music stylings on WAMM Radio
Sierra Ferrell talks to WAMM about her unique musical sound.

Sierra Ferrell’s next appearance in the area is December 6 in Washington, DC at Union Stage. Get your tickets here.

We rotate seven songs from Sierra’s debut album on WAMM – what is your favorite?

Steep Canyon Rangers Dilly Dally in the Valley


Steep Canyon Rangers’ mandolin player and vocalist Mike Guggino talks to WAMM about the band and its upcoming tour stop in the Shenandoah Valley.

Back in 2000, a couple of UNC students started jamming bluegrass tunes together. Guitarist Woody Platt and banjoist Graham Sharp formed the base of what is now the Steep Canyon Rangers. Shortly thereafter, Platt drove to Ashville to ask long time friend Mike Guggino to join. A musician experienced with a number of instruments, Guggino decided to explore his musings with the mandolin and hooked up with the Rangers.

Layer in subsequent members Nicky Sanders on fiddle, percussionist Mike Ashworth and Barrett Smith on the upright bass and you have the band in its current form. The Steeps are now on tour and playing the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs on Sunday, September 5.

Steep Canyon Rangers coming to play live in the northern Shenandoah Valley.
North Carolina’s Steep Canyon Rangers play the SVMF in September

Mike Guggino talks to Double J on WAMM Radio to preview this exciting appearance in the Valley. Mike discusses joining the band, influences such as Bill Monroe and collaborating with comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short. Guggino provides his insider’s perspective on the creative process of the band. Listen to the full interview here:

Mandolinist Mike Guggino tells WAMM about the creative process with Steep Canyon Rangers
Steep Canyon Rangers' Mike Guggino and the claw hand technique on mandolin.

Buy your tickets now to reserve your spot for a memorable experience at the SVMF:

Hot Strings and Cool Breezes Mini-Fest Live at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival Sunday September 5 at 6pm

WAMM will be there on-site, so be sure to stop by our tent before the show and say hello. To prep for the show, make sure your library is fully stocked with the classics:

The Rangers’ newest records, chock full of instant classics:

The most-played Steep Canyon Rangers records on WAMM Radio:

What’s your favorite Steep Canyon Rangers tune?

Full Season of High School Football on WAMM

Broadcasting the finest in local high school sports with the best sound and most coverage ever

WAMM Radio continues coverage of the best high school football matchups in the northern Shenandoah Valley in 2021. Craig Orndorff travels the Valley for another full season, bringing you all the action. Listen with the best sound quality ever on 97.9 FM and right here on WAMM.online all season long.

The season kicks off with a big inter-county battle between Central and Page, and culminates with a Shenandoah County rivalry between Strasburg and Central. Here is this year’s schedule: 

Aug 27—Central at Page County

Sept 3—Broadway at Strasburg 

Sept 10—Bath County at Mountain View 

Sept 17—Central at Clarke County

Sept 24—Mountain View at Central 

Oct 1—Broadway at Central 

Oct 8—Mountain View at Strasburg 

Oct 15—Page County at Mountain View 

Oct 22—Luray at Strasburg 

Oct 29—Warren County at Mountain View 

Nov 5—Central at Strasburg 

The games continue through the playoffs. Then stay tuned to WAMM for coverage of high school basketball later this year.

What team will post the best record this season?

The Band KANSAS on the Road to the Valley

KANSAS lead singer talks to WAMM Radio about the upcoming tour stop in the Shenandoah Valley by the legendary band.

Nearly 50 years ago, the band KANSAS released its first album. 20 album releases later the band has sold over 30 million records. Now, KANSAS takes to the road delivering notice they are still a dominant force in rock. You can bear witness when the legends perform live at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs, VA on Saturday July 31.

The Band KANSAS
KANSAS brings its legendary sound to Orkney Springs July 31 (Emily Butler Photography)

KANSAS lead vocalist Ronnie Platt talks to Double J on WAMM Radio to preview this epic event. Ronnie discusses how he joined the band, culminating in the recent studio and live albums the band has produced. Finally, how he looks forward to seeing all the Valley has to offer. Listen to the full interview here:

KANSAS and Lead Singer Ronnie Platt Deliver the Goods on Stage and on WAMM Radio
The Band KANSAS is coming to the Shenandoah Valley.

This is a summer must-see rock concert right here in the Shenandoah Valley. You will hear music from a catalog of eight gold albums, three 6x-platinum albums (Leftoverture, Point of Know Return, Best of KANSAS) and one platinum live album (Two for the Show).

Buy your tickets now to reserve your spot for a memorable experience at the SVMF:

KANSAS Live at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival Sat July 31 at 8pm

Preview the show by checking out KANSAS in its current form on the newly released live album The Point of Know Return Live & Beyond. This is the band as they are currently configured and touring:

Before the show, you owe it to yourself to check out the two latest releases by KANSAS – The Absence of Presence from 2020 and The Prelude Implicit from 2016. Both are worthy throwback rock records with that classic KANSAS sound:

What’s your favorite memory of the band?